Kevin Eaton - Aug 30, 2018

What to Look for at the 2018 Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show

According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the restaurant industry accounts for roughly four percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product, and it employees more than 10 percent of the entire workforce.

When you compare these national numbers to an overall look at the state of Florida, they're pretty similar. In fact, our state might even come out ahead of the national numbers.


Consider the following statistics from the NRA and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association:

* As of 2016, there were 40,001 places in Florida dedicated to eating and drinking

* Restaurant sales in 2017 accounted for 41.7 billion dollars in Florida's economy

* Restaurants employ more than one million Floridians in 2018, which accounts for 12 percent of the state's workforce

* By 2028, restaurant employment numbers are expected to grow by more than 15 percent over where they're at now


Every year the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show brings important issues to the forefront of our state and our industry. This year's addition will be no different, as restaurant, foodservice, and catering professionals from across Florida will learn about the latest trends and technologies from more than 400 of the leading vendors and purveyors in our industry.

There will be six different tracks for show attendees. These will include operational excellence, with a focus on profitability; marketing and social media, including a talk on three ways to use social media to attract new customers; hot trends with topics ranging from robots to building customer loyalty; health, which will feature topics gluten free cooking; building a winning team and the nine dysfunctions of a restaurant team; and finally the bar and beverage track with a focus on beer and food pairings.

Here at Eaton Marketing, we're also looking forward to the show, and here are a few reasons why (including what you should look for):


As you may know, Eaton Marketing has expanded in big ways in 2018. We are dedicated to bringing a full selection of foodservice equipment solutions, and as a result, we brought on the entire suite of Middleby brands. What that means for our customers is we can pretty much provide a one-stop-shop for all your needs.


As technologies continue improve, our foodservice equipment will be easier to operate and will shift toward automation. This will obviously be a big help for operators who struggle to train and keep good employees, especially as it becomes harder and harder to find them.

At the same time, Eaton Marketing is making a big push to help our customers go ventless by providing a whole suite of ventless cooking equipment. In many cases, going ventless is a much more economical go-to-market strategy, and we believe this should be expanded to all types of equipment.


As we mentioned, one of the tracks at this year's show will have a major focus on profitability, but this won't be restricted to the educational areas of the show. Expect to see a lot of discussion on the show floor about the importance of making the most out of any given space, finding better ways to utilize staff, and how to increase efficiency to maximize resources -- basically, how to be more profitable.

Eaton Marketing is always excited for this show because it brings so many of our friends and colleagues together. If you're going to be in Orlando, we'd really love to see you there.

To schedule some time with us to talk foodservice equipment, to walk the floor with us to see new solutions, or to just say hi, click on the button below.




Written by Kevin Eaton

Kevin Eaton is the President of Eaton Marketing & Associates and a seasoned Manufacturer Rep in Florida.